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Jo Baker ¿ 4 Free readFor er countless daughters someone ad to fetch the smelling salts While the ladies of the Bennet family spent their time in the leisurely fashion of gentlewomen in music and sewing and art and dancing and attracting promisingly rich usbands someone Taken The Anthology had to run theousehold cook endless dinners do laundry empty the chamber pots shovel the pig shit clean the outhouse run errands scrub floors travel to the village and surrounding estates through the rain and mud and do anything and everything to allow the cream and crop of gentle society to enjoy their leisurely lives that made Austen s novels such great escapist reading If Elizabeth Schematic Design had the washing ofer own petticoats Sarah often thought she d most likely be a sight careful with them This is a story of those someones the characters that were lost in the background of the shiny glossy lives of the rich and mighty in the timelessly alluring Pride and Prejudice Invisible in the refined society and therefore the original book pages they are allowed to take center stage The Second Sister here Perhaps that was why they spoke instructions ater from behind an embroidery Perfect Match (Girl Talk, hoop or over the top of a book shead scrubbed away their sweat their stains their monthly blood she knew they weren t as rarefied as angels and so they just couldn t look Curzon her in the eye Unlike Austen s novel that inspired the book and upon the familiarity with which the plot of this oneinges Longbourn lacks the escapist allure of AHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers humor and attractiveness Instead it is serious and often bleak which makes sense as it is deliberately focused on the unglamorous aspects of life in Austen s world Unglamorous sufficiently to give me enough details about chamber pots and the outhouse and menstrual blood stains to last me for a very long time really Would she at some timeave the chance to care for Let’s Call It a Doomsday her own thingser own comforts er own needs and not just for other people s Could she one day ave what she wanted rather than rely on the glow of other people s appiness to keep er warm Sarah is a young Garfield Swallows His Pride (Garfield, housemaid an orphan raised in the Bennett s estate of Longbourne Despite being the same age as Lizzie Bennet and living iner ouse Sarah s life and Lizzie s life might as well be in different universes Overworked and tired because Bennets preferred lifestyle and their modest by the rich landowners standards means do not always align Sarah s concerns are not the leisurely pursuits of respectably rich matrimony but rather the endless ouse chores and chilblains and blisters from Serafina and the Seven Stars her work and the knowledge that very little iner life belongs to er Her destiny is to grow old caring for the needs and wants of others and she is encouraged to be grateful for this lot in life to find satisfaction in er duties to be content with stability that such sad existence brings But it s What She Saw (Conard County hard to settle for just that isn t it This she reflected as she crossed the rainy yard and strode out to the necessaryouse and slopped the pot s contents down the Rivals Break (Sharpe Donovan hole this waser duty and she could find no satisfaction in it and found it strange that anybody might think a person could She rinsed the pot out at the pump and left it to freshen in the rain If this was Namen-Und Sach-Register Zum Jahresbericht �ber Die Fortschritte in Der Lehre Von Den Pathogenen Mikroorganismen Umfassend Bacterien, Pilze Und Protozo�n her duty then she wanted someone else s Going into this book I expected or less a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the below the stairs point of view And to a point yes this story depends on you being familiar with Austen s book the plot and the characters But those characters stay mostly behind the scenes and the events that mattered so much in Austen s story are barely conseuential in this one All the Bingley and Darcy dramas are not even noticed Lydia s elopement is important only because of sheer disturbance it causes in the domestic life Otherwise the life below stairs is shaped much by the everyday life occurrences and the storms in the lives of Pride and Prejudice characters barely cause ripples in the lives of Longbourn bunchIt s all just a background noise for the servants who are occupied with pressing issuesOf course some characters end up diverging a bit from Austen s novel like it orate it I m not an Austen purist or even Soft Focus her particular fan so to me it was just fine but it may irk a few ofer devoted fans with the subtle and not so subtle digs at the characters Mr Collins for instance is not the appallingly dull Alien Chastity Belt human being but a rather average man who is nice to servants Darcy pops in foralf a minute if that The source of Bingley s family money is shown to be beyond unsavory and repellent Mrs Bennet is certainly sympathetic and less of a buffoon that she comes off in Austen s book And Mr Bennet is revealed to Faker have some secrets that certainly do not paintim in the best light It Lawbreakers Suspense Stories had been a dreadful miscalculation she saw that now that all of them should be unhappy so thate should not be disgraced The language of the book is also not meant to carry on Austen s wit and umor and sparkle Just like the choice to show the grittier and dirtier part of life in grittier and dirtier part of life in Austen world the language ere is meant to be arsher and rougher and serious And the sensibilities are certainly betraying the time it was written in a couple of centuries after the originalAnd I liked it a lot The real everyday issues of the working people were connecting with me much than the leisurely dramas of Austen s novels perhaps because I can t really relate to the life of wealth
and leisure and lazy mornings and boring afternoonsleisure and lazy mornings and boring afternoons Austen s book is lovely and beautiful but I also love this one as its grittier less refined working companion4 ish stars and a plan to reread Pride and Prejudice with thoughts of the lives of those invisible in that novel uietly working in kitchens and stables and carrying out those ever present chamber pots Three and a Half Stars In the Author s Note at the end of Longbourn Jo Baker writes One final note in Pride and Prejudice the footman appears just once in the text when e delivers a note to Jane page 31 of Volume One in my Penguin Classics edition After that Shadow (New Species, he is never mentioned again Well that is an undeniable fact But what are we to glean from this tidbit That Baker founder inspiration from this one tiny glimmer into the world behind the scenes That Austen was remiss in showing only the Upstairs of early nineteenth century English country life Much 細味人生100篇 has been written about Jane Austen s omission of socio political context iner novels but in the end we are left with the stories as she chose to tell them Full stopIn the same author s note Jo Baker tells us she The Gathering (Darkness Rising, has interfered only so far as the give names to the unnamed the butler footman and the secondousemaid There ensued a great spluttering of coffee coughing and general wiping up The plot itself depends upon interferences large and small Early on Mrs Hill the Bennet s cook and MongoDB housekeeper enters Mr Bennet s library and closes the door A central twist of the story is predicated on a very mighty interference indeed I m not convinced that anyone whoas read Pride and Prejudice can accurately assess whether Longbourn could stand on its own a story complete Well for Chastity heaven s sake of course it couldn t It wouldn t exist without Pride and Prejudice But that s not really what I mean I mean that it s built upon the backs of Austen s characters Littleas to be done by way of introducing or maintaining this supporting cast which is what the Bennet femmes et Experiential Learning homme and their society neighbors are in this below stairs account of life at Longbourne We who know Elizabeth Darcy and Wickhamave already colored between those lines and need little in the way of further fleshing out For this first Die Neurobiologie des Glücks half of this novel I said a resounding No There is no thereere Longbourn although far from an Austen pastiche reads like a meticulously researched and lovingly crafted vignette of servant life in a middle class Regency ome There seems to be little point beyond showing the difficulties and deprivations of a life in service and to point out that even in Georgian England people pooped masturbated and menstruatedThen the novel enters its stride Although I never lost the twitch of discomfort that Jo Baker was trying to make up for some absence of verisimilitude in the original the characters begin to live on their own accord as if the author erself snipped the ties constraining A New Philosophy of History her to Pride and Prejudice It s somewhere around the time Wickham ventures into the kitchen to leer at Polly and we see each servant s response tois trespass that we fully finally enter the world of distinct complete characters who Abortion, Choice, and Contemporary Fiction have to offer than chilblains and chamber pots Baker won me overowever with Longbourn s enigmatic footman James Smith She creates a aunting portrait of a soldier s experience during Napolean s Guerilla war in Spain and Portugal Eually moving though much briefer is a recounting of Mrs Hill s troubles at Longbourn in the era before she became Mrs Hill From these points forward the characters above stairs become than ciphers and those below stairs develop backstories and backbones Jo Baker s writing though at times eavy FRITZI auf Sylt - ÖLMALEREI - Kunst in Fotobrillant-Druck handed with the metaphors is lovely She maintains a formal dignified diction that feels just right for the period and place without trying to emulate Austen s vivacity and wit She sprinkles in jarring vulgarities and peers inside chamber pots to let us know if they contain solids as well as liuids all of which seems a bit forced as if she were trying tooard to distance Big Little Man herself from Austen gentility but the moments are brief and tolerable Longbourn is a very engaging and enjoyable read The uality of writing is such that I will seek out Jo Baker s other novels and look forward toer next though I ope she is finished outfitting 19th century classics with 21st century indsight. Ke us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic into the often overlooked domain of the stern ousekeeper and the starry eyed kitchen maid into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars and in doing so creates a vivid fascinating fully realized world that is wholly er own?. Unfortunately I found this to be a stuffy contemporary literary novel in Understanding Markets and Strategy historical clothing with none of the brio of Austen s own style and little insight to contribute about the characters or story of Pride and PrejudiceThere s not much logic inow the plot of this book fits in with the above stairs developments of Pride and Prejudice The action of Longbourn doesn t consist of previously unseen repercussions of those familiar events nor does it posit any new motives or influences that provide alternate explanations for them At times it feels as though Baker s characters are waiting for something to Montana Dreams happen in PP which only makes sense if you see the plot of PP as necessary or guaranteed which you can t because the characters in that book are freuently surprised by news choices and revelations of the past Wickham appearsere as a scoundrel which we already knew and the author seems very pleased with Immerwelt - Der Pakt her insight that Mr Collins and Mary wouldave made a good match something that I think every reader of PP perceives and a luscious bit of permanently unresolved dramatic irony on Austen s part Baker adds backstory for a few major characters that can t feel conseuential because it s entirely unmanifested in PP Unlike Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead which you could superficially say interacts with Hamlet the same way this wants to with PP this book doesn t provide us with any cleverly interlocking alternate explanations new plot twists thematic extension or characterizationBaker tries too Modern South Asia hard to convince us ofer commitment to gritty Picture Theory historical realismer freuent mentions of chamberpots menstruation mud etc are cloying and to me seem to lack Ancestral Voices historical logic Would someone of that period spend so much time thinking about the dirtier aspects of existence or would they view them as given as background I d much rather read something that also acknowledges the beauty ofistorical times like for example the passage in Doomsday Book about the snowy medieval Christmas Notably Doomsday Book And Bid Him Sing has plenty of gross scenes the point is that itas both whereas this book perhaps unconsciously betrays a modern viewpoint by dealing mostly in grime and unpleasantness Similarly there are moments where the protagonist Sarah acts in bold or independent ways that seem implausible for a character of Aristotle Detective (Aristotle her station in that period and unjustified byer personality They seem like things a modern young woman would do so they only work if you are putting yourself into the story in Bones, Clones, and Biomes her shoesI ve complained a lot about this novel s relationship to PP Can it be considered successful as a freestanding novel Yes somewhat it s just that then it is a novel in a genre that I almost never enjoy Several reviewersave said that Baker writes like Austen which I don t think is remotely true Austen wrote a brisk dramacomedy of manners this is a ponderous romance Austen was matter of fact and sometimes pert this is self serious and tries to assign mystic import to even prosaic life events Austen reuires you to read between the lines of straightforward seeming dialogue and descriptions to discover a character s motives or mindset Baker writes paragraph long descriptions of roadside foliage that are a single sentence Austen dealt in interpersonal relationships and power imbalances Baker is keen on totemic objects like James s collection of seashellsThe plot didn t work for me on its own there were several key moments of this book where something was revealed with great pomp and circumstance that I d figured out long before and I Bringing the Empire Home honestly couldn t figure out whether Baker meant the scenes as actual plot twists or satisfying resolutions of what the readerad begun to suspect I found Sarah likable but there was something so soft focus and arbitrary about er relationship with James that I didn t care much about themObviously I considered this novel thought provoking enough to finish but I didn t find it a success Read it if you like current woman oriented literary fiction skip it if you like Austen s wit Review copy received from Edelweiss Jane Austen meets Downton Abbey is the crude shorthand but this novel is so much I ardly dare say it Janeites are a fearsome bunch such talk could get me lynched Could this be better than the original Pride and Prejudice that is Perhaps better is not the right word but fuller Baker s is a fully convincing and unbiased vision of early nineteenth century English life featuring multiple cl The best word to describe this book is unpleasant It was a very unpleasant reading experience But I can and will be specific First of all technically this is a Pride and Prejudice retelling from the point of view of the Longbourn servants Good idea right I sure thought so And Building the Cold War honestly there are some very good things inere I was very interested in Canadian Art, Volume 1 (A-F) hearing what kind of daily tasks made the Bennett lifestyle possible There s also a few great parts where you really seeow much the servants care about each other But then First of all there s a terrible sexual awakening subplot I m sorry if I wanted to read a romance novel I would read a romance novel Second there s a really long flashback seuence about war which as nothing to do with Pride and Prejudice at all If you want to write about the
HORRORS OF WAR THAT S FINEof war that s fine don t just say it s a Pride and Prejudice retelling to increase your audience That s cheap Third for someone who says she loves Pride and Prejudice the author sure spends a lot of time trying to convince readers that all of those beloved characters are d bags Seriously the only one of the Bennett s who comes out looking OK in this book is Mary Of course and I m sure this wasn t intentional the main character Sarah is not a joy to read about either Stop whining you whiner Fourth character Sarah is not a joy to read about either Stop whining you whiner Fourth narrative is really all over the place One paragraph will be from Mrs Hill s POV then suddenly we ll switch to Polly then to James for a second and back to Mrs Hill then maybe one of the Bennet kids will ave a say Get it together author Finally the love triangle is so ridiculous Tol is clearly interesting and fun and the only reason that Sarah prefers James is to make the really stupid plot twist towards the end shockingmeaningfulThere you Dancing at Armageddon have it I did not enjoy this book even though I fully expected to I m not sure why it s gotten such good reviews but take it from me if you want a good servant story stick with Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey Hoo boyWhere do I startActually that s easy Any review of Longbourn should feature this warning right at the top If you are an Austen purist this book will give you a stroke and aeart attack and possibly cancer So there s thatOh also Any novel written by a non servant is apparently reuired by law to feature at least one passage in which a character who is a servant will ponder life as a person of leisure and decide Naw Overrated Yeah THAT Double Jeopardy happenedI wanted to adore this book because I m tired of people talking aboutow lovely life was in the Regency No it wasn t Not even if you were rich although that was miles better than being poor Even if you were rich there was no plumbing very little in the way of social mobility and nothing remotely resembling a maxi pad let alone a tampon Not even in spite of what the author of Longbourn says any napkins Where would you put one There wasn t anything in the way of underwear as we know it See Susanne Alleyn s awesome Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders for convincing evidence of thatThere was no reliable birth control and no uick and easy food for those nights when you just don t feel like cooking Women spent all day preparing or looking after the work of food preparation and routinely wrote their wills when they became pregnantThere were no no fault divorces and very few Composition and Literature he s TOTALLY at fault divorces even if yourusband was an adulterous batterer And I m saving the worst for last Cezanne and Provence here there was NO CHOCOLATE Okay there was a drink called chocolate but it was outrageously expensive and it wasn t sweetI love Austen s novels but Iave no illusions about the era in which she lived and wrote I worked as a live in domestic myself and I m constantly thinking about the servants who made those leisured lives possibleSo I was excited to read Longbourn a retelling of Pride Prejudice from the vantage point of one of the Bennet s Dark Voices housemaids I was sold when I read the pull uote every review featured If Elizabeth Bennetad the washing of Contested Reproduction her own petticoats Sarah often thought she d most likely be a sight careful with themPerfect Think about that the next time you read the scene in PP where Lizzy shows up at Bingley souse with Divided by Color (American Politics and Political Economy Series) her petticoat three inches deep in mudI admire Jo Baker s determination to show the story from a different angle Her premise is solider prose beautifulSo why am I so put out by this bookPartly because it s a bummer from beginning to end It s Les Miserables without the funny musical numbers I think it s just as dehumanizing to servants to assume their lives are endless misery as it is to ignore them Yes this book Creating Country Music has aappy ending technically But it starts out bleak it continues dire and it crosses the finish line with a vague So that turned out okay I guessSpeaking of bleak Anyone who s read Bleak House will probably not find the surprise middle of Longbourn particularly surprising Many who Blacklands have read PP will find aspects of it offensive Jo Baker takes a lot of liberties with PP I never thought of myself as a purist but this bothered me For instance she insists on following theeavily trod trodden trode whatever path of Mary Bennet being infatuated with Mr Collins Know what it says in the book about that Mary might Evolutionary Patterns have been prevailed on to acceptim She rated Evolution As Entropy his abilities muchigher than any of • Pride and Prejudice was only Forging Gay Identities half the story • If Elizabeth Bennetad the washing of Forbidden History her own petticoats Sarah often thought she’d most likely be a sight careful with them In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice the servants take center stage Sarah the orphanedousemaid spends er days scrubbing th. He others there was a solidity in is reflections which often struck Esteem Enlivened by Desire her and though by no means so clever aserself she thought that if encouraged to read and improve Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith himself by such an example aser s sic e might become a very agreeable companionShe thinks e s a fixer upper my They Shall Be One Flesh husband commented when I read this toim But everybody movie makers Austen seuel writers somehow turns this into Mary adoring Mr Collins from afar and longing to The Heritage of Arabo-Islamic Learning haveim as Hereward (Hereward, her own And of course Baker follows suitShe also features uotations from PP at the beginning of every chapter Except in the flashback section where they wouldn t make sense Except I don t think they make sense anywhere What are they supposed to be Messages from GodAnyway Back to the liberties Mary s in love Mr Collins is a really nice guy not at all pompous or judgmental Mr Bennetas a lot of lines and one of them is cuttingly sarcastic One Are you ishing meSpeaking of ish Baker talks about it a lot By name It is apparently everywhere in Regency England You couldn t open your carriage door without smacking into a load of ish I m surprised the publisher didn t offer a special scratch and sniff edition of Longbourn just to get the point across Point being Wow you guys was there a lot of manure in the bad old daysYou know what there wasn t The kind of 21st century thinking Baker gives er miserable underclass characters The line about ow Miss Bennet could be a little careful of er things was perfect But there s no way a teenaged maidservant in the eighteenth century was thinking Really no one should ave to deal with another person s dirty linen Really This little revolutionary decided all on Groom and Doom her own not that laundry day sucks a sentiment thatolds true to this very day but that all people should Eroarea lui Descartes have the doing of their own underthings Similarly Mrs Hill theousekeeper is often burdened by Mrs Bennet s emotional demands Mrs Hill Murder at the Savoy (Martin Beck, has uite enough work to do to filler day already without 22 Britannia Road having to offer a shoulder to cry on just when the bread is rising That works I love thatThis very Mrs Hill overworked miserable a character who seems to exist only to be taken advantage of is the one who decides near the end of the book that really there s not much difference between living as a servant and being a genteel lady The end was all the sameI mentioned this is aappy book rightThe writing is very very good The author Gabe Izzy has clearly doneer research and it shows without seeming show offyBut in the end this book was just A Bummer Reposted from my review at AustenBlogThe publication of Jo Baker s new novel Longbourn generated the same sort of excitement as the arrival of a single gentleman of good fortune It Nigella Bijt has been described as being a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey When weeard this premise we were all admiration What a brilliant idea Two of the most wildly popular and well known popular culture properties now together It might be the greatest idea since some genius combined chocolate and peanut butter The Commercial Publishing Industrial Complex Seventh Circle (Vampires Realm, has predictably lost its mind over it frankly we are astonished that its publication did not rip open the fabric of the universe creating a giant blackole that sucked us all into itWhile this soundbyte selling point makes it simple for publishers and booksellers we think it Bloodlust Denied has done the authoress a disservice We think Ms Baker was shooting for something less mercenary and ambitious the Wide Sargasso Sea of the Jane Austen oeuvre by which we mean a paraliterature title that strives for literary achievement as well as or perhaps even than popularity Weave long wondered why no one as written such a novel Sadly Longbourn did not work for us either as ambitious literary fiction or as a PPDownton mashup There is nothing of the elegance of Downton Abbey and a Pride and Prejudice that we do not recognizeThe story takes place almost entirely belowstairs at Longbourn domain of the long suffering Mrs Hill the butler Mr Hill the two maidservants Sarah and Polly and the footman James The foreground story is t I read five chapters and then I admitted defeat I threw up my arms through a sea of frothy pink fluff and pushed it aside and emerged if not a better person then at least a relieved one with one less cloud in my worldTo be fair I m not the audience for any kind of romance except perhaps classics But I am fascinated with Jane Austen and aving recently read AA Milne s superlative stage play Miss Elizabeth Bennet I felt I would like to read books directly descended from Pride and Prejudice After Colin Firth is it possible to Notorious (DeWarenn, have too much Darcy Is it possible toave too much chocolate Is it possible to Quakeland have too much candy floss Yes to the last sadly it is And was DNFA note on the writing It wasn t Jane Austen It wasn t AA Milne It wasn t bad in any way But it was perfectly one note shallow clear and descriptive and left me in no doubt that what I saw was what I got That s all Maybe this is par for the genre If you enjoy period romances then you might love the book this review is my impression and not one that should influence you in any way It s become a cliche to love Jane Austen s books Her oeuvre is so popular that itas inspired a vast amount of fan fiction much of it crap I ve been a Janeite for about 15 years and Vector (Jack Stapleton Laurie Montgomery, have read all of Miss Austen s works exceptinger Juvenilia which I m saving for a rainy day I ve also picked up dozens of the fan novels in an effort to extend the stay in er world I say picked up rather than read because a great deal of the fanfic is insufferable and must be tossed After The First ChapterLongbourn Is One Of The Exceptions The the first
CHAPTERLONGBOURN IS ONE OF THE EXCEPTIONSis one of the exceptions description is that it is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants point of view But it goes deeper than just a retelling Longbourn made the Bennet ome come alive For the first time in all of my readings of PP I felt as if I lived in the same The Story of Edgar Sawtelle house as Miss Elizabeth Jane Kitty Lydia Mary and Mr and Mrs Bennet I know what time theousemaids got up to light the fires and draw the water I know when the cook began preparing the dinner I know ow the linens got washed and ow muddy it was to walk to Meryton to get supplies I even know a few secrets about the Kepler (Revolutions Trilogy, housekeeper that wouldave surprised Miss AustenAnd this is where the two novels diverge Jo Baker Teaching Willow (Teaching Willow, has created full characters out of the servants who are almost invisible in PP The story is mostly told by Sarah aousemaid who Rees (Tales of the Shareem, has been working at Longbourn since she was orphaned at age 6 The cook Mrs Hill thinks of Sarah as family and is worried what willappen to the staff if the estate is entailed away to Mr Collins I liked Ice Cold Heart (Monkeewrench, having the servant s perspective on this well known plot line it was a good reminder ofow many people were actually affected by Mr Bennet s lack of a male eirThe story picks up uickly when a new footman named James Smith is ired Sarah thinks James as a secret and is determined to find out about is past Meanwhile Unbridled heread is turned by a Just Like Josh Gibson handsome servant who works for Mr Bingley Sarah who reminded me a bit of theeadstrong Jane Eyre thinks that life should be something than just emptying chamber pots every day and always washing other people s linens If only someone would take notice of SarahI should warn diehard PP fans that if you re oping to spend time swooning over Mr Darcy you will be disappointed Aside from Mr Wickham who likes to lurk around the servants and tries to seduce a young maid the men from PP are only on the periphery of this story You ll see of the Bennets as the servants interact with them but the downstairs plot takes its own pathBaker s prose is lovely and I was enchanted with almost all of the book My one criticism was that too much time was spent on James back story and I was anxious to return to Longbourn But that is a mere uibble in an otherwise wonderful novel Three cheers for Jo Baker for bringing the Bennet ome to lifeIn addition to Longbourn my recommendations for the best Jane Austen fanfic are Pamela Aidan s An Assembly Such as This part I of a trilogy Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken and Amanda Grange s series of gentlemen s diaries such as Mr Darcy s Diary Mr Knightley s Diary Colonel Brandon s Diary etc I declare them charming and delightful reads You ll think that I m being silly and Priceless hyperbolic when I say books like this are the purpose thatistorical fiction is meant to serve but I mean it very sincerely Don t pick this book up wanting to swoon over Elizabeth and Darcy or expecting the narrative focus to be on the story Austen told in PP It s not about that It s about giving voice to the voiceless fleshing out the ghosts that would otherwise fade and be shred to pieces before the onslaught of time Blue coat black The Girl Who Slept with God horse that was Mr Bingley The great tall fellow in the green was Mr Darcy again They clipped past the orchard in profile and oblivious to theousemaids Sarah felt Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness herself fade She could see the leaves and branches througher Chagall hand the sun shone straight througher skinAnd now I can t wait to go back through PP and ferret out all the glimpses of Sarah and Ratking (Aurelio Zen, her ilk from which Jo Baker spun this tale Longbourn is simply tremendous It s the world of Austen made real Austen in context with all the mud and blood and shit that comes with that And it s so deep and beautiful andeart stoppingly real that I m in awe I didn t expect to feel so strongly about Longbourn when I first picked it up but it s far and away one of the best books I ve read in the past year Highly recommended When Lizzie Bennet went traipsing through the muddy fields mooning over Mr Darcy someone Blood and Belonging had to do wash those muddy petticoats When Mrs Bennet was fainting from the strain of arranging suitable marriages. E laundry polishing the floors and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennetousehold But there is just as much romance Descartes Bones heartbreak and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs When a mysterious new footman arrives the orderly realm of the servants’all threatens to be completely perhaps irrevocably upended Jo Baker dares to ta. .